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Versatile, quick dome homes built in Ashland

Uses besides housing have included a car show, a party and a Hobbit sales venue

They've housed yogis, cars, Hobbits and Hollywood stars. They're quick to install, easy to move and can withstand hurricanes.

They're geodesic domes, and they've been built in Ashland since 1980.

They're quite versatile and are perfect for those looking for a unique space, said Mark Hanson, operations supervisor for Pacific Domes. If you ever get into one, it's like, 'Wow, it's so neat.'

Their more unusual uses have included a car show in Hong Kong, a celebrity party for movie star Leonardo DiCaprio and a Hobbit hole for a company hawking a Lord of the Rings video game. But generally they're used for everyday purposes, such as a yoga studio, a guest house or a long-term place to live.

The geodesic dome design came from the late R. Buckminster Fuller, an inventor, architect, engineer, mathematician, poet and cosmologist.

— Fuller's lifelong goal was the development of comprehensive anticipatory design science. This science was an attempt to anticipate and solve humanity's problems by providing more and more life support for everybody, with less and less resources, said Asha Deliverance, Pacific Dome owner and founder.

The company, which has a staff of 15, makes domes ranging from 16 to 60 feet tall. The domes can reach 2,800 square feet and weigh as much as 2,500 pounds.

The domes are covered with water- and mildew-resistant, flame-retardant fabrics such as cotton, vinyl and polyester. Their frames are galvanized steel tubing bolted together. Windows can be added to give owners a clear view of their surroundings. The company's Web site claims one of its domes withstood 135 mph winds in Hurricane Andrew.

Hanson said Pacific Domes receives orders from around the world on new ways to use its products.

Crews are designing a 30-foot dome for a company that plans to sink it off the coast of Egypt in an attempt to make an artificial coral reef. They are also making domes for an ecological tourism organization based in the Swiss Alps.

It's really neat to be a part of so many cool projects, Hanson said.

Deliverance said the domes perfectly fit Fuller's motto to do more with less, and added, I love to see beauty and I love the designs we do.

Putting up the domes can take from an hour to several days, and they can be moved easily, Deliverance said. A 30-foot dome kit can fit in a Ford Aerostar minivan, with only the rear seat removed.

The domes can be lived in long-term. Hanson, along with his wife and young daughter, lived in a 24-foot dome for two years in Talent.

It was wonderful, he said. It was so open that you become aware of the natural surroundings around you. You don't have a thick, insular wall. You're connected to nature. You can hear the birds and the deer pattering around outside.

The domes can also withstand heavy snow, rain and winds.

Once, during a storm, a large oak tree fell on Hanson's dome, snapping the tree in half.

The dome received minor damage ' a little more than &

36;100 ' and was repaired in less than a day.

It's quite durable, he said.

Mary Ann Jones of Ashland has had a 16-foot dome on her property on the outskirts of town for more than a year. She uses the dome as guest housing and a place to do meditation and yoga.

It's just been good for a variety of things, she said. I like the fact that you're in a circular space. It gives you a different feeling than being in a rectangular room. I think you just get a feeling of being cozy, almost like being embraced by the space. ... I like that it's very practical and you don't have wasted space in the corners. It's very inviting.

Deliverance plans to retire next year and to set up subsidies of her dome business all around the world.

I believe that the domes are a futuristic home that give people the ability to move into nature in a really simple way, she said. It's important to spread the word.

For more information on Pacific Domes, call 488-7737 or go to

Bill Choy is a reporter for the and the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach him at 482-3456.